The Right Goes All In to Stop Marriage Equality in California

As we have noted over the last several weeks, the Religious Right’s response to the California marriage ruling has been noticeably over-the-top, even for them.  Throwing out everything from Nazi metaphors and warnings that the end of the world was upon us to hateful language and ridiculous scare-tactics, the Right’s response has consisted almost entirely over rhetorical over-reaction. 

But now that same-sex marriages have begun in California, the Right appears to be transitioning from over-reaction to action and begun ramping up its organizing efforts to amend the California Constitution to “provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized.” 

Just yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Focus on the Family dumped a quarter-million dollars into the effort:

The initiative campaign proposes to amend the state Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. It received $250,000 this week from an evangelical group, Focus on the Family, and declared that the debate about same-sex marriage “is not over.” Focus on the Family, led by James C. Dobson, posted a statement on its website declaring that California’s “judicially imposed social experiment has hastened the demise of religious freedom across the U.S.”

Today, the Family Research Council sent out an email seeking to have its own quarter-million dollar investment be doubled by a matching grant for the fight in California and across the nation:

I’m writing to ask you to give a generous donation to Family Research Council’s MARRIAGE CAMPAIGN.

Your donation and others will be doubled by a Matching Grant up to $250,000!

Traditional marriage is now in grave peril across the nation due to the outrageous decisions by activist judges and radical legislators in Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Oregon. With reckless disregard for logic and law, these threats open the door to:

    * Counterfeit marriage being imposed on states with marriage amendments
    * Erosion of traditional morality as homosexuality is normalized
    * Schools teaching that homosexual behavior and homosexual “marriage” are social goods
    * Restriction of religious freedom and free speech

In response to the marriage crisis, FRC has launched our Marriage Campaign.

Our initial goal: raise $2 million immediately to educate the nation on the centrality of marriage, respond to threats and lies across the country, educate leaders and pastors, and register voters.

The crisis is so great that FRC has been given a $250,000 Matching Grant to help fight this battle and others

FRC plans to use the money is raises to, among other things, “Educate the grassroots and government leaders, Launch paid advertising and press events, Alert and inform FRC’s powerful network of churches and Flood TV, radio, newspapers, and the Internet with FRC experts doing eye-opening interviews.”

FRC plans to use the money is raises to, among other things, “Educate the grassroots and government leaders, Launch paid advertising and press events, Alert and inform FRC’s powerful network of churches and Flood TV, radio, newspapers, and the Internet with FRC experts doing eye-opening interviews.”

The group through which FOF and FRC will presumably channel their money and efforts is ProtectMarriage.com, a who’s who of right-wing organizations and individuals.  ProtectMarriage itself appears to kicking its efforts into high-gear, beginning with what they seem to be billing as the single most important conference call ever:

Dear Pastors, Friends and Christian Leaders,
 
We have labored to make this letter as short as possible.  However, the gravity of this moment caused us to need to share several critical items.  Please read carefully – at least this first page.
 
The landscape of California will change dramatically as of Monday, June 16 at 5:01 PM.  Every Bible believing pastor and church will be affected.
 
Please join with pastors and Christian leaders all across California who are coming together at 43+ locations for a statewide Pastors Strategic Conference Call, Wednesday, June 25, at 10 AM.
 
For the location list, please see www.protectmarriagesd.com.
 
If you, as a pastor, are willing to host a gathering of pastors and Christian leaders at your church, or you know of a pastor who will host, please contact Chris Clark at pastor@eastclairemont.com  or 858-395-7136.  You need to have speaker-phone capability that can be adequately amplified, along with PowerPoint capabilities for visual purposes.
 
Additionally, please forward this email to as many pastors and Christian leaders as you can or email reply with the email addresses of pastors and Christian leaders so that we can keep them informed of future developments … Be assured that the information shared will be extremely beneficial for the future of the cause of Christ in California.  Saying it another way, it is worth canceling all other appointments in order to be present at one of these locations.

The conference call looks like it is tied to the organization’s efforts to use churches to register thousands of new voters before the November election:

The church in California is being called upon to turn out the vote for the November election, in which voters will vote on a constitutional amendment to nullify a recent court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage” in that state.

ProtectMarriage.com has already signed on a thousand churches to work to increase voter registration and turnout. As spokesman Ron Prentice notes, the church is seen as one of the keys to victory. “[In] many elections, only 50 percent of those church members register to vote,” he says. “And so we know that our success hinges on getting out as many votes as possible — and the church community is available and willing.”
 
Prentice explains that as a follow-up to voter registration materials, his group will provide church leaders with specific sermon content on the subject of biblical marriage — “and then we’ll be working with them to get out more and more of their congregation to vote,” he adds.

It seems as if it has finally dawned on the Right that a loss in California on the marriage issue could do serious damage to their efforts to pass a federal marriage amendment and permanently deny marriage equality to men and women throughout the nation and they look set to pull out all the stops in an effort to ensure that that does not happen.  As AFA’s OneNewsNow put it: “History has shown that what happens in California affects the rest of the country, so Prentice is calling on people to pray for victory.”